New Help for Old Buildings

Older properties can have charm, history and ambience. But one thing they often lack is a cable- and Wi-Fi-friendly infrastructure.

As one exasperated general manager says, “We have some rooms that never get a good Wi-Fi signal, no matter what we do. We consistently have to apologize and move Internet-dependent guests out of some guestrooms. And on nights we have no additional rooms with good access, we end up compensating those guests. I don't know that we'll ever solve the problem.”

In many older properties, these woes are not confined to guestrooms. Public spaces, too, can have “dead zones” where Wi-Fi signals are difficult or impossible to transmit and aesthetic considerations prevent installation of an Ethernet jack. Imagine a client showing up for a banquet function with a notebook computer ready to do on-line check-in for the group's event, only to discover the event booked in a banquet room lacking Internet access — either by patch cord or Wi-Fi.

Take heart. There are options for solving those issues and bringing reliable Internet access to difficult areas.


If Ethernet cables are already in place to those areas — or if they are accessible with a new Ethernet cable — an in-room wireless access point can provide a Wi-Fi solution. However, be sure that you choose wireless devices consistent with devices already operating your wireless network.

For example, if you already have an Aruba wireless network (, wall-mount Wi-Jack Duo wireless wall outlets by Ortronics/Legrand ( are the smallest and least obtrusive such access points on the market. They come in molded enclosures that mount discreetly in a standard single-gang wall outlet in both guestroom and public area. It connects to a building's existing structured cabling infrastructure with a standard 110 termination and is available in two versions: one with just a wireless access point and the other with an embedded 10/100 Ethernet port for network devices such as printers, security cameras and laptop computers.

The wireless wall outlets use Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, so the network will require PoE injectors in the telecommunications room to function. General managers agree that that cost pales compared to that of refunded guestrooms and disgruntled guests.


If you have a dead zone where you cannot install a standard Ethernet cable, consider under-carpet cable. For example, Hitachi Cable Manchester ( makes a thin Cat 5e similar in size to a flexible plastic ruler (1/8" × 1-3/8") and designed to function effectively but unnoticed under carpet squares or rolled carpet in commercial or residential applications. Similarly, Video Products Inc. ( makes a super flat cable (1/16" × 1/3"), available on spools or in pre-molded patch cords. These Cat 5e cables are ideal for hiding under carpets, running along cramped front desks, or installing in guest- or food-service areas where unsightly exposed cables or patch cords won't do.


Finally, another potential lifesaver for a network-unfriendly building is the Cat 5e cable from FlatWire Technologies ( When installed properly, FlatWire Ready wire products are almost impossible to detect by sight or touch.

The FlatWire cable is 8/1000 of an inch — thinner than a business card. Once attached to the wall, it is covered with a mesh tape and then a concealing compound; when that dries and is sanded, it can be painted or wallpapered to become virtually invisible.

The current product line includes a two-pair Cat 5e Ethernet (10/100Mbps) cabling kit that includes custom termination devices for each end of the FlatWire data cable. However, be aware that this may be a better option for providing an Ethernet network jack than a wireless wall outlet; cross-connection to a wireless access point may be difficult, even impossible. But FlatWire may still be an excellent way to provide an Ethernet outlet in a previously unreachable location in an older hotel.

FlatWire Ready products can even be installed over textured surfaces. For example, if installing FlatWire Ready products on a textured ceiling, the first step is to clear a path through the textured surface. Next, attach the wire along the path. Then apply a store-bought textured ceiling repair kit to cover the wire's path.

These products need to be in your arsenal as you try to coax computer network functionality out of your charming — and occasionally infuriating — older facility.

Russ Munyan is a freelance business and technology writer in Olathe, KS. Reach him at

Wiring and cabling Automatic wakeup Answer detection Call accounting Fax server Paging Telephony server interface Voice mail Wireless intercom Two-way radios Telephones Cordless telephones Cellular telephones Guestroom Internet services Prepaid telephone cards Time/temperature/weather Voice recognition Voice-over IP-ready Unified messaging Telephone switch/equipment DID server VOIP phones
Amerisafe Industries
Applied Media Technwologies
BluFi Wireless
Cisco Systems
Colubris Networks
Extenway Solutions
Hospitality Leasing
Inn-Client Server Systems
INNCOM International
Janus Digital Display
Keylink Solutions
LodgeNet Entertainment
Lorica Solutions
Metropolis Technologies
RedSky IT
Safety NetAccess
Toner Cable

Website design Website maintenance Website analysis Search engine optimization Distribution channel management Data mining Linkage management E-mail list services E-mail campaign management Booking engine development Pay-per-click campaign management
Aptech Computer Systems
IDT Group
Keylink Solutions
Lodging Interactive
Multi-Systems Inc.
Newmaket International
Northwind Maestro
Pegasus Solutions
RedSky IT
Safety NetAccess
Sceptre Hospitality Resources
Topaz Hotel Services

Reprints and Licensing
© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Recent

More Recent Articles

Career Center

Quick Job Search
Enter Keyword(s):
Enter a City:

Select a State:

Select a Category:
Franchise Fact File Top Brands
Brand Company Basics Top Management Companies
Owners & Operators Industry Consultants
Industry Associations Industry Events
Design Firms Purchasing Companies
Top Ownership Groups

Click here to view all of the Lodging Hospitality Photo Galleries

Accor Best Western
Carlson Rezidor Choice
Hilton Hyatt
IHG La Quinta
Marriott Starwood
Vantage Wyndham

Free Product Information
News and Trends for the Hotel, Motel, and Hospitality Markets.

Lodging Hospitality eReport
Lodging Hospitality electronic newsletters are FREE to requested subscribers.

Lodging Hospitality Resource Center
The Lodging Hospitality Resource Center is the ultimate resource to find products and services to build, equip, and renovate hotels, motels and resorts.

Subscribe / Renew
Visit our subscription center to subscribe or renew your subscription to Lodging Hospitality.

Visit our webinars page to view all our upcoming and on demand webinars.

Visit our White Papers page to view all our current White Papers.